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Acacia holosericea

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Acacia holosericea A.Cunn. ex G.Don, Gen. Hist . 2: 407 (1832)

Shrub or tree 3–8 m high. Branchlets acutely angled but normally terete by 20–30 cm below apex, usually sericeous, sometimes glabrous. Young shoots silvery sericeous, sometimes glabrous. Phyllodes obliquely narrowly elliptic, 10–20 cm long, normally 2–5 cm wide, with unequal base, the mucro 1–3 mm long, usually sericeous, the normally 3 prominent veins per face confluent and contiguous with abaxial margin at base, the minor veins forming a somewhat open, longitudinally orientated reticulum; glands basal and at base of mucro on at least some phyllodes. Inflorescences rudimentary racemes with axes to 0.5 mm long; peduncles 3–7 mm long, sericeous, sometimes glabrous; spikes normally 2–4 cm long, golden; bracteoles linear-spathulate, 1–1.5 mm long. Flowers 5-merous; sepals united. Pods tightly and often somewhat irregularly coiled, 2.5–4 mm wide, thinly crustaceous to coriaceous-crustaceous, glabrous, remaining as entangled clumps following dehiscence. Seeds longitudinal, oblong-elliptic, 3.5 mm long, shiny, dark brown; aril bright yellow.

Widespread in northern Australia extending from near Derby, W.A., E across the N.T. to near Rockhampton in eastern Qld. Also scattered occurrences in arid regions at Hammersley Ra. Natl Park, W.A., through central N.T. and to SW of Blackall, Qld. Grows in sometimes gravelly sand or loam, commonly forming communities along watercourses.

Branchlets and phyllodes are sometimes glabrous but more commonly they are sericeous with appressed or subappressed hairs; only rarely are the branchlets pubescent with spreading hairs (e.g. Petford, Qld, N.Hall H83/63 , PERTH). Specimens with the widest phyllodes occur in the northern parts of Qld and the N.T. (e.g. Elco Is., J.R.Maconochie 2147 , BRI, CANB, DNA, L) and may sometimes resemble A. neurocarpa ; however, they seem to be A. holosericea on account of their short, linear-spathulate bracteoles and their slender branchlets which, although apically angled, are soon terete. The phyllodes of A. colei often superficially resemble those of A. holosericea .

In the light of genetic studies by G.F.Moran et al . (1992), in A.House & C.Harwood (eds) Austral. Dry-Zone Acacias Human Food (CSIRO, Canberra), the taxonomic status of A. holosericea was reviewed by B.R.Maslin & L.A.J.Thomson, Austral. Syst. Bot . 5: 729–743 (1992). Consequently A. holosericea is now more narrowly defined, and A. neurocarpa and A. colei are now excluded from it (see the latter two species for further details). Some of the species related to these three include A. cowleana , A. elachantha , A. grandifolia , A. mangium , A. nesophila , A. pellita and A. sericoflora .

Phyllodes, bark and pods are used traditionally by N.T. Aborigines for pruritic skin conditions, headache and tropical infection, fide , Aboriginal Communities of the Northern Territory (1993), Traditional Aboriginal Medicines N. Territory Austral. 16–19 (Conservation Commission of the Northern Territory of Australia, Darwin).

Type of accepted name

Repulse Bay [South Repulse Is., Qld], 1819, A.Cunningham 317 ; neo: BM, fide B.R.Maslin & L.A.J.Thomson, Austral. Syst. Bot . 5: 737 (1992). Note: The lectotypification of this name by L.Pedley, Austrobaileya 1: 181 (1978), based on Cunningham 478 was overturned by B.R.Maslin & L.A.J.Thomson, loc. cit .


Acacia mangium var. holosericea (A.Cunn. ex G.Don) C.T.White, Contr. Arnold Arbor . 4: 42 (1933); Racosperma holosericeum (A.Cunn. ex G.Don) Pedley, Austrobaileya 2: 349 (1987). Type: as for accepted name.

Acacia holosericea var. glabrata Maiden, Proc. Roy. Soc. Queensland 30: 48 (1918). Type: Gilbert R., Qld, E.W.Bick comm. C.T.White ; holo: NSW; iso: BRI.

Acacia holosericea var. multispirea Domin, Biblioth. Bot . 89: 270 (1926). Type: in xerodrymio apud rivulum prope opp. Chillagoi, Qld, Feb. 1910, Domin ‘5176’ ; holo: PR.

Acacia holosericea var. typica Domin, Biblioth. Bot . 89: 270 (1926), nom. inval .


K.A.W.Williams, Native Pl. Queensland 1: 7 (1979); J.Brock, Top End Native Pl . 63 (1988); B.R.Maslin & L.A.J.Thomson, Austral. Syst. Bot . 5: 736 (1992).

Representative collections

W.A.: Barker R., 2.5 km S of Mt Hart HS, D.J.Edinger 455 (BRI, DNA, PERTH); Hancock Gorge, Hammersley Ra. Natl Park, M.E.Trudgen 1370 (BRI, PERTH). N.T.: Mini Mini Ck, 22 km WSW of Murgenella Settlement, J.H.Ross 3331 (PERTH, MEL n.v. ); Mt Ultim, Dulcie Ra., B.G.Thomson 2182 (DNA). Qld: Budgerygar, SW of Yaraka, C.F.Puttock AQ421303 (BRI).


WATTLE Acacias of Australia CD-ROM graphic

The information presented here originally appeared on the WATTLE CD-ROM which was jointly published by the Australian Biological Resources Study, Canberra, and the Department of Parks and Wildlife, Perth; it was produced by CSIRO Publishing from where it is available for purchase. The WATTLE custodians are thanked for allowing us to post this information here.

Page last updated: Thursday 22 June 2023